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Broadley v. Mashpee Neck Marina, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit
471 F.3d 272 (2006)


Mark Broadley (plaintiff) docked his boat at a marina owned and operated by Mashpee Neck Marina, Inc. (Marina) (defendant). Marina required Broadley to sign a waiver releasing Marina from all liability for any claims and ensuring Broadley would not sue Marina for any harm suffered. The waiver entitled Marina to attorney’s fees should Broadley breach his agreement not to sue. Broadley was injured when his foot slipped between the main dock and a floating dock. Broadley brought suit in federal district court against Marina alleging negligence and seeking damages for his accident. Broadley argued that despite the waiver, admiralty law prevented Marina from completely absolving itself from liability for ordinary negligence. Broadley argued that the waiver was overbroad and thus should not be enforced as a matter of public policy. The trial court modified Marina’s waiver to exclude liability only for acts of ordinary negligence, rather than gross negligence and intentional wrongdoing. The trial court found Marina’s conduct did not amount to gross negligence, and granted Marina’s motion for summary judgment. Broadley appealed.

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